The general who thoroughly understands the advantages that accompany variation of tactics knows how to handle his troops. - Sun Tzu
OX Lockers biggest claim to fame has been its reliable (though often incorrectly installed) mechanical cable actuation. However, not everyone likes the cable actuation any more than air actuation.
Fortunately, whatever your pleasure, OX Locker can accommodate with the classic cable or air actuation, and we will show you how simple it is to convert to air.
1. Remove (unscrew) your OX Locker cable from the OX differential cover.
The differential cover does not HAVE to be removed to extract the cable to do this conversion. But because the cable housing was holding its shape, we found it much easier to just remove the cover. Besides, we haven’t been inside the axle for years and an internal inspection was long overdue.
2. Apply Blue Loc-tite and thread the included allen bolt into the OX Locker. The bolt is threading into the shift fork, taking the place of the cable end you just removed.
3. Per OX Lockers instruction, "tighten snugly." There is no real load here. The Air Shift piston will push against the head of the bolt to engage the locker. The Loc-tite keeps the bolt from loosening.
4. Place the rubber seal onto the air cylinder.
5. Thread the air cylinder with rubber seal into the OX Locker cover. The instructions call for 5 lbs of torque, or as tight as you can get it by hand. This note deviates from the instructions and it is entirely up to you as to whether you do it or not. That said; follow this note at your OWN risk. Because the axle tube is in the way of getting a good solid grip, in our opinion it couldn’t be tightened down properly; so we used a strap wrench to give it an extra 1/8th turn. Again, this is what we did and not necessarily recommended - it's your call!
6. Thread the elbow air fitting into the end of the air cylinder with the elbow coming to a final resting position in the direction the air line will be routed. In our application the elbow was turned up and slightly back.
7. Route the air line from inside the cab to the air cylinder – DO NOT CUT THE AIR LINE.
Prior to routing the line, we placed a bit of tape over the end of the tube to keep the dirt out of the airline so as to not contaminate our Air Shift cylinder.
8. Switch placement - locate a place in the cab of the vehicle that will allow for easy access from the driver’s seat but won’t be accidentally engaged. Ensure there is unobstructed access for the fitting and air line on the back of the switch. If you already have an OX cable shifter, you may be able to reuse the existing mounting bracket.
9. Drill a 15/32" hole for mounting the switch. We drilled our hole with a 1/2" step bit as 15/32 is not exactly common. We chose to use the original cable shifter mounting bracket.
10. Thread air fittings into the back of the switch.
11. Mount the switch.
12. Connect airline to the air fitting at the axle end. This is done by sliding the air hose into the fitting and it will auto lock and seal.
13. Proceed with great caution at this point - Cutting is irreversible!
Measuring twice, ensure the air line is long enough for suspension flex and movement of the airline between the axle and the switch - cut the air line to length at the switch. We used a fresh razor blade to cut the air hose and suggest you do the same. Crushing of the hose from scissors may result in a poor fit and seal.
14. Connect airline from the axle air cylinder into the lower fitting of the switch.
Using the remaining airline – connect to the upper air fitting of the switch (this line will go to the air source).
15. Connecting an air source – There are a number of options available, but this is what we did.
This Jeep has a Viair 450c, air-tank, and 125 lb pressure shut off switch. Off of the air-tank is a line to connect an air-hose to connect whatever accessory. Going forward from here we explain how we connected the OX air line to our air-tank's line.
16. Route air line to the belly mounted air-tank accessory line.
17. Trimmed to appropriate length – insert barbed air fitting into air line.
18. Connect air line from OX switch to the accessory airline from the tank.
Not an installation issue, but it could be without careful planning and thought. There is a bit of space required for both the fittings and the air line itself behind the air switch mechanism.
I hate electric windows, locks, and accessories because they are not half as reliable as their mechanical counterparts over the lifetime of the vehicle. Through no fault of ARB Lockers, the air system for one reason or another has ** demonstrated repeatedly as to why I personally prefer the mechanical actuation of the OX Locker - reliability. However, I would be dishonest to say that I haven’t loved the crisp disengagement of the Air Shift OX over the cable actuation.
And credit goes to OX Offroad Products for heeding Sun Tzu's advice and offering variation on the battlefield of available locker options.
**ARB makes an outstanding product that when properly installed and maintained is very reliable. However, once an ARB Locker leaves the factory they can’t guarantee proper installation. MOABJEEPER Magazine has documented the problem, and has been both witness and victim to improperly installed ARB Lockers. For this reason, this author prefers the OX Lockers cable actuator or air cylinder to the ARB Locker with its internal (inside the differential) seals.